Kansas City Digital Media Lab

Check out what KC teens are up to in the Digital Media Lab! Visit KCDML.com


Youth ages 12-18.
Weekly from 4:00-7pm.
Thursdays at the Southeast Branch.

November 2014: KCDML brings out the audio and video production equipment, giving you the tools to tell the story that is important to you. Learn the basics of good camera technique, story development, and the essentials of quality sound design.

December 2014: KCDML is all about 3-D printing. Maker Bot, Doodle3D, Blender, TinkerCAD and more.

Youth ages 12-18.
Weekly from 3:00-5pm.
Tuesdays at the Central Library.

At the Central Library KCDML focuses on storytelling, audio and video production, video editing, and animation. Learn the basics of good camera technique, story development, and the essentials of quality sound design.

Equipment includes:

  • Cameras (DSLR, video, and still)
  • Laptops
  • Microphones
  • A 3D printer

The Kansas City Digital Media Lab is an outgrowth of the learning labs research and planning grant funded by the MacArthur Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The learning labs grant seeded a national movement to find even more creative ways of engaging youth in the country's library and museums. An initial 12 sites were given funding to plan and design a lab, with an additional 12 added the following year. The Kansas City Public Library, in partnership with Science City, was awarded a grant in the first round.

The library and Science City used that funding to conduct research, to create a design, and to prototype the concepts. Research included talking to business and creative professionals in Kansas City, as well as youth. In fact throughout the grant process there was a teen advisory board in place that helped to guide and provide input on the design of the media lab.

In the summer of 2013, in what is now the Maker Space at Science City, the project invited young people to come out and use a variety of equipment and to engage with a number of professional mentors. The Microsoft Store was a substantial partner in the prototyping process and the Midwest Center for Non-profit Leadership was on-site to implement an evaluation process.

As may be expected we found that generally the youth loved the concept, both having access to top of the line equipment and to adults who were actually interested in them as co-creators. Yet we also found that one of the biggest barriers of entry was transportation. Many of the youth that the library serves on a daily basis just were not able to make the leap to Union Station. Therefore, the library, with support from Science City, pursued additional funding that would allow the project to go mobile. It would allow the equipment and other resources to be taken directly to library youth.

Thus begins the initiative that is the Kansas City Digital Media Lab. We are starting with two library sites each week in order to nurture and grow it in a way that leads to natural long-term sustainability.

Kansas City Public Library Beta